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Iowa History Daily: February 1 - Birth of the Barn

Iowa History Daily: On February 1, 1955, Veterans Memorial Auditorium in downtown Des Moines first opened to the public. Home to numerous concerts, sporting events, and other notable events, many Iowans made memories at “The Barn” while it served as the premier venue in Iowa’s capital city for decades.

As construction crews toiled to erect the massive brick structure near the Des Moines River just north of the primary downtown district following the initial cornerstone laying in 1954, Iowans prepared to flock to one of the largest event venues in the country at the time. Named to honor the World War II veterans of Polk County, the facility quickly grew into a fan favorite.

Setting the bar high, Elvis Presley rocked the stage as the first major concert in the building during May of 1955. The site also saw Ozzy Osbourne’s infamous bat incident, the legendary Hulk Hogan vs. Big Boss Man steel-cage match, as well as numerous other spectacular performances.

A favorite sporting venue, many Iowans flocked to “The Barn” each spring for the Iowa boys and girls high school state basketball tournaments, as well as the home of state wrestling. Vets also served as the home venue for Drake basketball from 1957-1992, the home field of the Iowa Barnstormers, and as the site of many other memorable sports moments. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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